Right to Counsel

In 2017, grassroots organizations won the right to legal representation in Housing Court for tenants facing eviction in New York City.

Unscrupulous landlords have long exploited the gross inequities of a system where few tenants had knowledge of the law or access to attorneys, and where evictions enabled rent increases toward the ultimate goal of de-regulating apartments.

Bronx tenants and organizers secured a long-sought commitment by the City to pass and fund a Right to Counsel as a condition for enactment of the Jerome Avenue Rezoning – setting a valuable precedent for leveraging local organizing to change citywide policy.

Today, the Right to Counsel Coalition works to ensure that the implementation of the law will continue to build tenant power and transform the court system. Members also share their experience with organizers in other cities – to date, San Francisco, Newark, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Santa Monica have passed Right to Counsel legislation, and campaigns are in progress across the country.